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Blackjack or Pontoon? See Which You Prefer

George Miller

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Blackjack or Pontoon? See Which You Prefer
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

As a standard ingredient in your average casino recipe, blackjack is so popular that it has even spawned copycat games, pontoon being one of them. True fans of the original may not ever feel the need to defect, but there’s no harm in being across the variations should you ever feel like branching out – you might even find greater success with the alternative. Here are some of the main differences between classic blackjack and its British relative.

It’s all in a name
On a basic level, the lingo is a big part of what sets blackjack and pontoon apart, especially as much of the detail lies in terminology. Although the classic terms of blackjack aren’t exactly self-explanatory, they have infiltrated popular culture to the point that even novices may be familiar with “hitting”, “standing” and “doubling down”. The language used in pontoon is arguably simpler; for example, to stay with your bet and end your turn is to “stick”, while adding to your bet and your hand at once is simply called “buying a card”. In any case, the pursuit of proficiency in either game will likely require a familiarity with the names within the game.

Buying cards
Placing a bet in blackjack is always a high-stakes move, and while the same is true in pontoon, the difference lies in the option to buy cards. This move essentially involves doubling your bet for the opportunity to take a hit, or “twist”, and add a card to your hand. Unlike blackjack, pontoon also allows players with hands of more than two cards to buy. Of course, such a move can be quite risky, but it can also pay off well if you begin with a hand of low-value cards and manage to avoid going bust, in which case the extra buy-in can lead to a significantly higher payout.

The five-card trick 
The simplicity of blackjack lies in its single-minded goal of reaching 21, a factor which no doubt contributes to it being one of the most popular card games. While this makes pontoon a similar game at its core, the introduction of a five-card trick option, similar to the ultimate poker hand, gives players another possible winning strategy. Failing these options, you can also win the round with a hand of three or four cards totalling 21, or less, if you are the closest. Essentially, if you like the idea of extra opportunities to win, pontoon makes a great alternative to the comparatively risky “21 or bust” mentality.

Dealer rules
A majority of casino games are skewed in favour of the house in some way, and pontoon is no exception, piling on several layers of disadvantage. The ultimate disparity comes through in the ruling that if a tie should occur, the dealer will automatically be declared the winner, and this is amplified by the fact that the dealer’s cards remain hidden until players have made standing bets. This makes it far more difficult to guess at your standing in comparison with the dealer, who is already in a position of fortune.

Payout 
The discussion of financial gains is where things start to get interesting for most players, and it also represents one of the most significant differences between pontoon and blackjack. In the latter case, a “natural” comprising an ace and a card valued at ten (including all picture cards) is the best you can hope for, and will earn a payout of 3:2, or 150% of your original bet. By comparison, pontoon offers an appealing payout rate of 2:1, or 200%, for a natural hand, with healthy payouts on offer for other winning hands. This is to say that from a financial perspective, pontoon puts players in a relatively strong position, but when you consider that all of that extra opportunity is also afforded to others at the table, it makes for a competitive game.

There will always be some who vehemently believe that there’s no beating a classic, and if you’re in this camp, the game of pontoon might not be for you. On the other hand, much of the logical understanding and experience you stand to gain through a few tense rounds of blackjack is transferable, and you may even find the new game an easier route to success.

Latest News

Swansea City Teams Up with The Big Step

Niji Narayan

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Swansea City Teams Up with The Big Step
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Swansea City football club has teamed up with gambling harm reduction charity The Big Step in a trailblazing new partnership.

The Big Step is a football-focused gambling education project and part of the Gambling with Lives charity.

The 18-month Gambling Harms Prevention programme will be delivered by Swans’ fan Nick Phillips, himself a recovering gambling addict.

In addition to the support of the club, the scheme has also been backed by the Swansea City Supporters Trust, Swansea City Community Trust and has been positively received by local MP Carolyn Harris.

“I would like to thank the club and the supporters trust in giving us the opportunity to talk about gambling and, in particular, the harms that are attached with it,” Nick said.

“As a lifelong fan of the club, I am excited about this education project and believe it will have a significant positive impact amongst the fans and the local community.”

James Grimes, senior programme manager at Gambling with Lives and Founder of The Big Step, added: “I am so proud to announce our partnership with Swansea City, whose community scheme is renowned for improving lives.

“As a recovering gambling addict, I am passionate about preventing young people going through the same thing that I did. During 12 years of addiction, football failed to provide adequate warnings or the help that I so desperately needed.

“This partnership will show how football can be a positive social vehicle in preventing and reducing gambling harms in its community through our education, awareness and signposting work.”

Swansea City’s head of commercial, Rebecca Edwards-Symmons, said: “We are delighted to be able to lend our full support to the fine work of The Big Step.

“At Swansea City, our supporters and their welfare are at the centre of our values, so we were quick to pledge our backing to this project, which can help the lives of not just individuals, but their families and friends too.

“Aside from backing The Big Step, this season we have moved away from having a gambling company as our main kit sponsor, which allows our junior Jacks to proudly wear the same shirts as their heroes.

“These are the big steps we are making to help strengthen the battle against gambling addiction.”

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eSports

Rix.GG signs Joonas “Mognus” Salo to Rocket League roster

George Miller

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Rix.GG signs Joonas "Mognus" Salo to Rocket League roster
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Rix.GG, a new esports organisation, announces the signing of Finnish superstar Joonas “Mognus” Salo to its Rocket League roster.

Rix.GG’s Rocket League roster ahead of RLCS X Winter Split will be:

  1. Dan “Polar” Rees
  2. Lorenzo “Dead-Monster” Tongiorgi
  3. Joonas “Mognus” Salo

By signing Joonas “Mognus” Salo, Rix.GG is taking a hybrid approach to both nurture home-grown talent and bolster it with unrivaled expertise in Rocket League. Joonas “Mognus” Salo brings with him a wealth of experience, competing and winning at the highest levels of the esport. Rix.GG hopes the move will lead to the development of a winning team strategy to become one of the top Rocket League teams in the EU.

Jamie Lewis, founder, said: “We [Rix.GG] are doubling down on our efforts to build a top tier team and are delighted to have a world-class talent like Mongnus on board. We feel he is the perfect addition to our budding team.”

Ibrahim Taylor, team manager, said: “Mognus is widely regarded as one of the most capable Rocket League players, someone that has seen great success for many years at the very pinnacle of competitive Rocket League. He also gels very well with the team and the great atmosphere is clear to see. Polar and Dead-Monster are both keen to continue to improve, with the experience and history Mognus brings he is the perfect person for them to combine with to take them to new heights.”

Joonas “Mognus” Salo, said: “I’m happy to be joining Rix.GG as a new third player for its Rocket League team. They take good care of their players, so I know I’m in good hands. Immediately from the first scrim I noticed the potential that Polar and Dead-monster have. With my experience, I hope to bring more consistency to the table

and bring out the best of my teammates. It will definitely take some time, but I hope you can support me and my new team on this journey.”

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Asia

PAGCOR Considers Allowing Casinos to Operate Online Gambling

Niji Narayan

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PAGCOR Considers Allowing Casinos to Operate Online Gambling
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has confirmed that it is considering a proposal to allow online gambling in casinos.

The regulator said it has received requests from operators to allow online bets from known patrons in order to reduce the financial impact of pandemic-related restrictions.

PAGCOR said the departments involved are currently conducting studies on the proposals.

The regulator is already evaluating the legalisation of streaming sabong events in authorised arenas.

An industry source said the change was likely to be made soon but only for Philippine clients.

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